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Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

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Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

I have a tightly scheduled plan to arrive in Paihia by car mid afternoon on Feb 6, 2010, visit the Treaty Grounds, stay overnight, then do a boat trip on Feb. 7, stay overnight again, and depart on a long drive south.

But, I see that Feb 6 is national Waitangi day, and perhaps 30,000 visitors will show up. I already have accomodations reserved, but am wondering if I will be able to get anywhere near the treaty grounds, on feb 6. Is this a multi-day event ? Is parking a problem ? Will I be able to visit any of the usual tourist attractions ? Perhaps the celebration is a unique benefit ?

Should I consider changing plans or booking a boat trip well in advance ?

Thanks for any advice.

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Paihia
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1. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

People, particularly Maori, flock in mass to Waitangi on Waitangi Day. The grounds will be crowded, the proceedings will be formal and the day can at times become quite political (our Prime Ministers have had things thrown at them there in the past).

I'm not sure that usual tours etc will go on as per usual, but my guess is that that probably won't. There will be too much else going on.

If I was you I would consider doing something else instead. While I don't believe that you'd be made to feel unwelcome if you went to Waitangi, you may feel slightly out of place and confused by the proceedings.

If you want a cultural experience, what about a visit to Tane Mahuta in Waipoua Forest with a local Maori Tour Guide?

With regards to your boat trips, I wouldn't worry too much about them being over-crowded. However, there's never any harm in booking in advance. It's always best to play it safe.

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2. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

I wrote this last night but it wouldn't post because of maintenance on the site. As you can see Bean and I have differing opinions :)

Heck no! You have accomodation booked so you will be fine. There are alot of people that would love to attend these celebrations, it's a very unique experience and here you are going by default! This is a very unique experience and as long as you go with an open mind you will enjoy yourself. You won't get near the Treaty House and you may not even get onto the Treaty Grounds, although they do encourage visitors there. There will be plenty happening down on Waitangi Beach and in and around Paihia with waka arriving(Maori canoes) and Kapa Haka groups and spontainous hakas welcoming them. There could also be some demostrations but no problems though they are usually peaceful and part of the day. You might not get as close as you would like but there will be a great atmosphere to enjoy anyway.

Depending where your accommodation is you won't need any parking, everything is within walking distance. I would book the boat though well in advance.

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3. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

Okay, perhaps I have been a bit negative on the point and there are definite bonuses to going :-)

However, I think my main reservation is that you won't even be arriving in Paihia until mid afternoon. By then you will have well and truely missed the arrival of the waka and the morning powhiri and Kapa Haka performances. Just about all car parks will be taken and there will be crowds (I'm not a fan of big crowds).

The formal proceedings will be largely in maori and a bit confusing without a guide. However, on the plus side there will be lots of markets etc in the area and you should be able to catch the farewell proceedings. I guess there are pros and cons and it helps to have all perspectives so you can make an informed decision.

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4. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

Poor old Zappers getting Oskar and I mixed up. Its been a long year. I'm with Zappers on this matter, the O/P has an opportunity to experience something magic. The major protests of Waitangi are over and we are seeing a coming together of the different cultures that make up New Zealand. Whilst I havent seen the programme for this year if the past couple of years are anything to go by the days runs something like this.

There is an invitation only tapu ceremony at dawn in the Meeting House on the Treaty Grounds. The day is a mixture of song and dance again on the Treaty Grounds finishing with the Royal New Zealand Navy mounting a guard of honour and a beating the retreat ceremony at sunset to end proceedings.

There will be some protestors there, but their arguement is with the government of the day not with visitors. If you come across any stand aside and let them go their way.

You should be able to get in and around the Treaty Grounds , but be prepared for delays as the only access onto the Treaty Grounds is via a one lane bridge and there will be a large number of dignataries present who will have priority.

Take in the atmosphere and the spirit of the occassion. Most New Zealanders have never experienced a Waitangi Day Day celebration at Waitangi either the positive ones of today or the negative and hostile ones of days gone by.

The area will swell with lots of people and restaurants and pubs are going to be packed.

If wanting to go on a boat trip over that weekend I would book to ensure passage when you want to go.

You could be in for an exciting time go for it.

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5. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

Sorry oskar, I thought I saw that Bean responded last night :-/ That's weird. Anyway, you have some valid points re arriving later in the afternoon.

ETA- and speak of the devil and he arrives :)

Edited: 11 December 2009, 02:57
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6. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

Thanks to Oskar, Zappers and bean41 --

Not sure what I will decide to do -- may decide when I get there.

But I certainly do appreciate the advice.

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7. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

Zappers I did try and reply last night during the maintenance shut down. It may have popped up briefly and then got "Zapped". pun intended.

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8. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

Hi

This year being an anniversary year,will be a biggie for Waitangi. There will be lots of people but if you don't mind crowds too much, you shouldn't miss it. Waitangi is separated from the main Paihia town area by a beach. Alot of people who come for the Waitangi celebrations stay on the Marae or in the hotels & accommodation close to Waitangi.

The main Paihia town is a small distance away - I own a motel on the main Paihia Beach (20mins walk from Waitangi) and it's busy, but not city busy, you can still get around easily, best to walk if you're able, the tours still run - though if on a tight schedule, definately pre-book.

As has been said, restaurants, cafes & bars in town could be busy, but again a good deal of those people who come specifically for the celebrations eat inhouse & socialise on the marae.

Once in a lifetime chance, especially if you know the history.

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9. Re: Feb 6 in Paihia, Waitangi ????

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